WASHINGTON, July 1 Beginning July 6, Sharing Miracles -- a 30-minute public affairs television program that tells the compelling and inspirational stories of real patients -- will feature four-time Olympic Gold Medal-winner Greg Louganis. Also on July 6, the program will debut in Los Angeles on KCOP-TV at 10 am. Sharing Miracles now shows on 137 television stations across the United States.
Diver Greg Louganis won the hearts of sports fans worldwide in 1984, when he won the Gold Medal at the Los Angeles Summer Olympics for both the 3 meter springboard and the 10 meter platform. He solidified his reputation as the world's best diver by repeating those wins at the 1988 Games in Seoul, South Korea, despite hitting his head on the diving board during the preliminary rounds. With a resulting concussion -- and with tens of millions of people watching -- he completed the preliminaries and went on to repeat the same dive during the finals. With almost perfect scores, he clinched the Gold Medal. As a result of his stellar performance throughout the Olympics, he was named 1988's ABC Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year.
For years, his name was associated with the Olympics and with his ability to overcome the odds against him. This especially rang true in 1995, when Louganis announced in his autobiography, "Breaking the Surface," that he is HIV positive. Since then, he has fought his battle against the disease with the same grace and strength that he showed in competition.
Speaking of his initial diagnosis -- just months before the Olympics in 1988 -- he says, "When I was first diagnosed, HIV was thought of as a death sentence, so I was going to do the honorable thing, go back home, lock myself in my house, and wait to die." His doctor told him to do otherwise: "He encouraged me to stay in training. He said that was probably the healthiest thing for me to do for myself -- and I was very thankful for that, because I was able to focus on my diving, which was very positive, rather than on this cloud that potentially loomed over my head."
According to a recent survey conducted by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), 92 medicines are currently being developed to treat HIV and AIDS; these include 20 potential vaccines. Acknowledging the progress already made in treating the disease, but recognizing the tremendous need for further research, AIDS expert and Pfizer scientist Howard Mayer, MD, said, "I don't think there's any role for complacency. In HIV, we have to stay one step ahead of the virus."
A full 20 years after his diagnosis, Louganis is still strong and active; he attributes his well-being to an effective treatment regimen as well as physical activity and a positive attitude: "Take care of yourself. Do everything you can to alleviate stress in your life. Take a break and laugh at yourself."
Previous episodes of Sharing Miracles have featured Emmy Award-winning actor Joey Pantoliano, who suffers from clinical depression; actor and Leave It To Beaver star Jerry Mathers, who is affected by diabetes; pop icon and Broadway star Deborah Gibson, who has suffered from devastating anxiety attacks; former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, who is battling colon cancer; and North Carolina State University women's basketball coach Kay Yow, a breast cancer survivor. Future programs will highlight Academy Award winner and patient advocate Marcia Gay Harden; Olympic Gold Medal winners Mark Spitz (high cholesterol) and Bruce Jenner (attention deficit disorder); and syndicated television talk show host Montel Williams, who suffers from multiple sclerosis. Sharing Miracles is produced by PhRMA's Communications & Public Affairs Department.
Sharing Miracles airs on Sunday mornings - in 47 television markets, reaching more than 45 million households - on the following networ